Friday, 24 October 2014

Mushroom Calzones



I had calzones for the first time a couple of years back in a pizza outlet. We never really tried it again, but I decided to try my hands at it one weekend some time back. These days with my changed office timings I am mostly getting to cook only on weekends :-(. So it turned out quite nice and was perfect as an evening snack. Here goes the recipe…



Ingredients

2 ½ cups refined flour,
½ cup warm water,
½ tsp sugar,
1 ½ tsp dry active yeast,
2 tsps oil,
Salt to taste,
1 ½ tbsp.butter,
1 tsp of mixed spice seasoning

For the Filling

2 tsps oil,
200 grams sliced mushrooms,
1 tsp minced garlic,
Salt and pepper to taste,
1 tsp dried basil,
2 tbsps tomato sauce,
½ cup shredded cheese

Method

To Prepare the Filling

Heat the oil and add the sliced mushrooms and minced garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Mix well and turn off the heat.
Mix in the basil and the shredded cheese.

To Prepare the Dough

Add the sugar and dry active yeast to the warm water and let it stand till it turns frothy. Ensure the water is just warm, it shouldn’t be hot.

Add this frothy fluid to a mixture of flour, oil and salt. Knead this into a dough. Keep it aside in an oiled container till it doubles in volume.

Now punch it down and knead again and keep it aside for another half an hour.
                        
To Prepare the Calzones

Take a small lemon-sized ball of dough and roll into a 3 to 3.5 inch disc. Place about a tbsp. of filling in the center and fold the disc to form a half moon shape. Secure the edges. You can make any marks on the edges. I made marks using a fork. Make all the calzones in this same manner. Arrange them on a baking tray.

Preheat the oven for ten minutes at 200oC. Bake the calzones for about 15-20 minutes.
   
Remove from the oven and brush them with butter and sprinkle the mixed spice seasoning. Serve warm.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting



The hubby’s birthday should always fall on a weekend, especially if you are planning to bake a cake for him and especially if you are trying a new recipe which has more steps rather than just mix together-bake-serve.



But unfortunately that was not to be, the hubby’s birthday came on a Thursday this year and not a normal Thursday  but a Thursday, when I had a lot of project work at hand (read office project) and was also fasting. But thank God for small mercies I was at least working from home.

Since I have been working from home since the start of Ramzaan, I was not able to stock up on things to decorate my cake with. The final decorations which did happen on the cake were the creative ideas of my sister and the birthday boy.

But all in all, I was extremely pleased with the end result of my first try at a chocolate cake with ganache frosting. I referred to several recipes on the net before customizing them to my requirements and proportions.

Now for the recipe…

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake

1 ¼ cup refined flour,
½ cup whole wheat flour,
¾ cup cocoa powder,
2 tsps baking soda,
1 tsp baking powder,
¾ tsp salt,
2 cups sugar,
½ melted butter,
1 cup milk,
2 eggs,
2 tsp vanilla extract,
3 tsps instant coffee powder,
Some extra cocoa powder for dusting the pans,
Some extra butter for greasing the pans

For the Ganache

500 grams dark chocolate compound,
1 ½ cup cream,
2 tbsps sugar,
¼ cup butter,
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

To Make the Chocolate Cake

Sift the refined flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add the sugar to this and mix well.

In a separate bowl mix together the melted butter, milk, eggs and vanilla extract with a fork.

Now mix the wet and dry ingredients

Add the instant coffee powder to a cup of very hot water and mix well.
Add this coffee to the prepared mixture and mix well.

This mixture will be used to make two cakes. It is best if you have two 8 inch round cake tins for this. In case you do not have two (like me) you will have to bake two cakes one after the other.

Apply butter on both the pans and dust it with cocoa powder. Pour half the batter into each pan. Preheat the oven at 180oC. Bake the cakes for 35 minutes or until the knife comes out clean once the cake is pricked.

Unmould and let them cool on a wire rack.

To Make the Ganache

Cut the chocolate into small even sized bits. Some people also suggest grating them.

Take the cream, sugar and butter in a saucepan and heat it at a very low temperature till it melts.

Pour this hot mixture over the chocolate bits and stir till smooth. Let it cool for 1-2 hours or until it reaches a coating consistency.

To Assemble

Place one of the cakes on a flat surface. Apply a coat of the ganache over the top. Place the other cake over this carefully. Try to ensure it is placed exactly on top of the first cake.

Now apply the ganache over the top layer of the cake and all along the sides using a spatula. When you have ganache over all the exposed surfaces of the cake, you can use the spatula to give a smooth finish to the cake. This step takes practice. You can see in my cake, I have loads of practice to do :-).

You can then decorate the cake however you wish, as I didn’t really plan the making of this cake I didn’t have anything ready at hand for the decorating.

What we finally did was we dusted icing sugar in the center of the cake and placed a few strawberry jellies in the center.  

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cheese Garlic Bread



I made this bread quite sometime back. The more bread I make, the more my fear of yeast dwindles.




It is not such a frightful thing after all! This bread turned out pretty well, if I may say so myself. It had a nice cheesy crust and a soft garlicky center. We had it just like this but it could be teamed with a nice soup or stew too.

Ingredients

2 tbsp warm water,
1 tbsp dry active yeast,
2 tsp sugar,
250 grams refined flour,
Salt to taste,
3 tbsps finely chopped garlic,
5 tbsps grated cheese,
1 egg

Method

Mix the warm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and let it stand till it becomes frothy.

Sieve the flour and add the salt and the yeast mixture. Knead it till you get a smooth pliable dough.

Cover with a damp cloth and let it stand till it doubles in size.

Knead again and add the chopped garlic and half the cheese.

Grease a baking tray. Divide the dough into four portions and shape them into flat balls and place them on the baking tray.

You can also shape them as an oval or any other shape.

Sprinkle the cheese on top and leave it till they again double in size.

Beat the egg well. Brush this on top of the bread.

Preheat the oven at 225oC. Bake for 30 minutes. It should be golden brown by this time.

Cool on a wire rack and serve either just like that or with a soup or stew.